Our Turn: Arizona faith leaders take Gov. Doug Ducey to task on his request to stop refugee relocations.

Original Article, Published In The Arizona Republic Located Here:

Dear Governor Ducey,

We write to you today to express our deep concern regarding the call to halt the placement of refugees in the State of Arizona. It is from our deep-rooted faith traditions that we speak regarding the moral and ethical responsibility to care for victims of war who are displaced and seeking refuge among us.

The Syrian refugee crisis is the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II according to multiple global governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations. Over 4 million Syrians have fled their homes due to the world’s inability to find a solution in Syria. Millions of people have fled to escape war, poverty and almost certain death to find a safe haven where families can live without fear.

Our religious traditions state clearly that we are to welcome the stranger, to provide for those who seek refuge. It has been stated over 30 times in the Torah for Jews to remember the historical experience of being a stranger in another land. Because of this experience, the stranger should be treated with empathy.

Christians hold strongly to the teachings in Matthew 25 that demonstrate God’s great concern and directives as to how we are to treat those in need in our midst.

In the Muslim tradition, more than 100 verses in the Quran state that compensation is similar to action; those who feed others will be fed, those who shelter others will be sheltered, those who relieve others will be relieved.

As faith based institutions and organizations that regularly work with and provide services to Arizona’s refugee population, we are greatly concerned that the decision to halt the placement of refugees will contribute to xenophobic rhetoric and retaliation against refugee communities.

We understand that some are fearful after the recent attacks and brutality suffered around the world. However, we must recognize that refugees are themselves victims of this suffering.

In refusing to provide a safe place, we are denying them basic human rights and doubly victimizing them in return. The truth is, the United States has resettled 784,000 refugees since Sept. 11, 2001, and no refugee has ever attempted to carry out a terrorist attack in the United States.

Historically, Arizona has been proud to serve as a friendly environment to the refugee families who have escaped unimaginably harsh circumstances in pursuit of a better life. They have become part of the fabric of what makes Arizona so great, contributing to our labor force, becoming business owners and model community members.

As people of conscience, it is with utmost urgency that we call for the reconsideration of any discussion to halt the placement of refugees in our state. Rather, it is incumbent upon us to welcome those who are most in need — in accordance with faith directives, our morals, our ethics, and our American values.

We appreciate your attention and it is our great desire to be in dialogue with you and policy makers around these issues of great importance.

SIGNATORIES

The Council on American Islamic Relations of Arizona

— Arizona Faith Network

— Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata, United Methodist Church, Desert Southwest Conference

— Rev. Brad Monroe, Grand Canyon and De Cristo Presbyteries, Presbytery Pastor

— Bishop Kirk Stevan Smith, Ph.D, D.D, The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona

— Bishop Stephen S. Talmage, Grand Canyon Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

— Rev. Erin Tamayo, Executive Director AZ Faith Network, Grand Canyon Presbytery, PC (USA)

— Rev. Tully M. Fletcher IV, AZ Faith Network Board Member, Associate Pastor Orangewood Presbyterian

— Rev. Marc McDonald, Chaplain, Flagstaff Arizona

— Rev. Doug Bland, AZ Faith Network Board Member, Tempe Community Christian Church (Disciples) — Pastor Sarah Stadler-Ammon, ELCA, AZ Faith Network Board Member

—Sarah King, AZ Faith Network Board Member

— Fr. Michael Diskin, President Arizona Faith Network

— Rev. Rock R. Fremont Jr. United Church of Christ, AZ Faith Network Board Member

— American Muslim Women’s Association of Arizona

— Muslim Students Association at ASU

— Islamic Cultural Center of Tempe

— Arizona Muslim Police Advisory Board

— Islamic Community Center of Phoenix

— Arizona Cultural Academy

— Muslim American Society of Arizona

— Islamic Center of the Northeast Valley

— United Islamic Association of Arizona — Islamic Center of North Phoenix

— Somali-American United Council of AZ

— Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona

— Rev. Alison Harrington, Southside Presbyterian Church, Tucson

— Pastor Sue Ringler - Vicar - SW Region of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, Guardian Angels

— Catholic Community, Chair - Tempe Interfaith Fellowship, AZ Faith Network Board Member

— Rev. Jeff Proctor- Murphy, Dayspring United Methodist Church

— Rev. Chad- Joseph Sundin, OSBCn, Chaplain, Annunciation Campus Ministry at ASU, Vicar, St.

— Augustine’s Episcopal Parish

— Rev. Lowell Byall, Chaplain, Honor Health Hospitals, PC (USA)

— Tamera Zivic, PhD, Executive Director/ CEO WHEAT

— Johnny Martin, AZ Faith Network Board Member, President of Sun Devils Are Better Together

— Rev. Al Gephart, Pastor Emeritus, University Presbyterian Church, Theological Dialogue Commission — Chair, AZ Faith Network Board Member

— Rabbi Jason Bonder, Assistant Rabbi/ Educator, Temple Emanuel of Tempe

— Rev. Elaine Groppenbacher LCSW MDiv, SW Region, Ecumenical Catholic Communion

— Rev. Andy Burnette, Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation

— Rev. Edward J. Walsh, CoPastor, Guardian Angels Catholic Community

— Chris Gonzalez, Missio Dei Communities

— Kevin Platt, Missio Dei Communities

— Billie K. Fidlin, Arizona Faith Network Vice President, Director of Outreach, Desert Southwest Conference

— Linda E. Staats, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, AFN Supporter

— Rev. Dan Hurlbert, First United Methodist Church, Tempe

— Rev. Jan Trulock, Pastor, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Glendale

— Penny Davis, AZ Foundation for Contemporary Theology

— Rev. Tom Martinez, Senior Minister, Desert Palm UCC, Tempe

— Judy Eighmey, Shepherd of the Hills United Church of Christ

— Rev. Thomas C. Dunham, Streams in the Desert Lutheran Church, ELCA, Tucson

— Rev. Richard C. Doerrer- Peacock, UCC Pastor serving the United Methodist Church

— Steve and Becky Klein, Desert Palm United Church of Christ

— Jo Vredenburg, Chairperson, Justice and Witness Ministry Team, Desert Palm, UCC, Tempe

— Rev. Patti Aurand, Pastor, Shepherd of the Hills United Church of Christ, Phoenix

— Rev. Eric O. Lederman, Pastor at University Presbyterian Church, Tempe

— Mark A. Coryell, Baha’i Faith

— Rev. Peter S. Perry, Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Glendale, AZ

— Mark Egan, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

— Sister Mary Elizabeth Lawrence, SC Catholic

— Kellie Walker Hart, Minister of Music, Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Chandler

— Rabbi Susan Schanerman, NefeshSoul Jewish Congregation

— Barbara Lewkowitz, Executive Director, Justa Center, Inc

— Ahmad AlAkoum, Executive Director, Islamic Community Center, Tempe

— Imam Ahmad Shqeirat, AZ Faith Network Board Member, Islamic Community Center, Tempe

— Fr. Robert Berra, Episcopal Priest and Chaplain at Arizona State Polytechnic Campus

— Ed Kearns, AZ Faith Network Board Member, Tempe Friends Meeting, Arizona Half-Yearly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends (Quaker)

— Reverend Michael-Ann Veziroglu, Associate Pastor, Desert Palm, UCC

— Sandra Weir, Board Member, Arizona Worker Rights Center, and Unitarian Universalist

— Rev. Kate Lehman, OSB, Pastor, St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community

— Rev. Robert Koth, Retired United Church of Christ Minister, Member, First Congregational Church of Christ, Phoenix

— Rev. James Pennington, AZ Faith Network Board, Senior Pastor, 1st United Church of Christ, Phoenix

— Elisabeth Niman, Membership Director of Sun Devils Are Better Together

— Rev. Al Beasley, Minister of Visitation, First Christian Church, Scottsdale

— Rev. Dr. Mari Larson, Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church, ELCA

— Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, Uri L’Tzedek: Orthodox Jewish Social Justice Movement

— Rev. Delores J. Kroph, Pastor, St. Michael the Archangel Ecumenical Catholic Communion, Tucson

— Audrey Penner, Desert Palm United Church of Christ, Tempe

— Rabbi Tracee Rosen, Tempe Gan Elohim

— Dr. Muna Ali, PhD, Anthropologist

— Don Shankster, Pastor, AZ Faith Network Board Member, Papago Buttes Church of the Brethren, Scottsdale.

— Rev. David Felten, The Fountains, a United Methodist Church

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